Benefits of Exposure to Different Flavors
Contrary to traditional thinking about introducing baby to solids, baby’s first foods do not need to be plain or bland. The latest research proves there are a number of benefits to exposing your babies to an array of different tastes right from the start.
Gary Beauchamp, director of the Monell Center, concludes “Infants exposed to a variety of flavors in infancy are more willing to accept a variety of flavors, including flavors that are associated with various vegetables and so forth and that might lead to a more healthy eating style later on.”
Our Approach to Flavor in our Organic Baby Food
At lil’gourmets, we currently use a total of twelve herbs and spices to bring the flavors of six global baby meals to your home. We strive to not only develop a love of vegetables, which is beneficial to a baby’s long-term diet, but also to cultivate a curiosity of flavors and cultures from around the world. With this early introduction, we can increase acceptance of a variety foods and reduce picky eating! Plus, the spices themselves provide a host of health benefits.
Adding herbs and spices to baby food recipes is also a great way to enhance flavor without adding any sugar or salt. Here are 7 of our favorites to add to your own recipes.
Cinnamon is a prized spice around the world. It adds a pleasing sweet flavor to almost any food or recipe. Jazz up your baby’s oatmeal, applesauce, or yogurt with this aromatic spice, which adds a hint of sweetness without adding any sugar. Cinnamon has a number of health benefits, including the highest antioxidant strength of all the food sources in nature.
Ginger is a natural immunity booster and anti-inflammatory known for soothing lil’tummies. It has a mild, pleasing flavor that babies and toddlers love.
Oregano can be found in a variety of global cuisines, including traditional Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican recipes. Oregano is flavorful but not overpowering and is a great salt substitute. It is also rich in antioxidants and is believed to help fight off bacteria.
You’ll find oregano in our Organic Corn + Bean Gazpacho recipe.
Cilantro herbs flower and produce small fruits that yield the spice Coriander. With its aromatic flavor, coriander can be added to just about any food to give it a little extra oomph, as well as the benefits with its richness in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Coriander can be found in traditional Latin American, Middle Eastern, and North African food dishes... in addition to three of ours!
Cumin adds bold flavor to any recipe, including three of our delicious baby meals. Cumin is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and is said to aid digestion; it is typically found in Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines. Its main flavor compound is cumaldehyde which is also found in eucalyptus!
Turmeric is another mild, but flavorful spice that is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. Turmeric adds beautiful color to any recipe and is often found in Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Garlic enhances the flavors of almost any recipe and is also rich in vitamins. Garlic can be found in just about every cuisine around the world, and yes, even babies & toddlers like its mildly spicy taste!
Now that you are armed with the knowledge of our seven favorite herbs and spices to introduce to your baby, check out our baby food variety pack! Our recipes are not only the best baby meals, but our rich flavors and hummus-like consistency make them a healthy toddler snack too!
Each baby is unique, so find what works for you to introduce them to new flavors, spices, and cuisines. And remember that it can take between 7-21 tries for a baby to accept a new flavor, so don't be discouraged by funny or curious reactions to certain foods. Just put it away and try again another day. And remember to have fun with this early stage and feel good knowing you are setting them up for a lifetime of healthy and curious eating!
Note: For more information on Introducing Solids, check out our Pediatric Advisor’s post here. And, as always, we suggest talking to your pediatrician when starting solids with your baby.